The Original Comic-Strip/The Franchise in General
Flash Gordon is an alternate universe counterpart to Superman
- He's in many ways the inverse of Superman. Whereas Superman is an alien who comes to Earth and uses his fantastic powers to perform heroic deeds, Flash is an earthling who goes an alien planet where he uses nothing but his Bad Ass Normal skills to perform heroic deeds. Moreover, his classic appearance (blond and clad primarily in red with blue and gold accents) contrasts with Superman's (dark-haired and clad primarily in blue with red and gold accents). Both have "girl-reporter" love interests (Lois Lane and Dale Arden), and The Smart Guy sidekick (Professor Emil Hamilton and Dr Hans Zarkof). They also have arch-nemeses in the form of a bald egomaniac with a thing for green and purple (Lex Luthor and Ming the Merciless). Both villains view their respective heroes similarly (Luthor sees Superman as a challenge to his narcissistic belief that he is the ultimate human being, as well as to his control of Metropolis. Ming sees Flash as a threat to his fascist belief in Mongonian superiority, as well as his control over Mongo). Finally, the portrayal of Krypton in the silver-age is similar enough to Mongo (both being neo-medieval, science-fiction wonderlands) to be seen as an alternate version of the same planet.
- This theory could extend to the wider DC Universe — Prince Vultan is clearly a counterpart to Hawkman (and indeed, Flash Gordon's Hawkmen are a collective counterpart to the DCU's Thanagarians), while Prince Barin is an alien counterpart to Green Arrow. Expanded further, the other Kings Features syndicate character's may fit into this theory. The Phantom is Batman, Mandrake the Magician is Dr Fate, and the Defenders of the Earth are the Justice League of America.